Every Mountain Bike Should Have a Dropper Post. Period. | Bike198

A password will be e-mailed to you.

One of the best tech advances in mountain biking is the dropper seat post and every bike should have one. Yes…even your rigid single speed or crazy light XC race bike. I am going to tell you why.

Before we get into the straight up details…let’s play a little game. Let’s say you saw this downhill bike setup. What would you tell the rider?

Downhill Mountain Bike

How about this BMX bike at  your local park or jump track?

BMX Bike

Or how about a really fun one…this dirt bike setup…

Kawasaki Dirt Bike

You would think they were all crazy right? Why the hell do they have the seat so high? It is just going to get in the way and it is not natural.

However, that is how mountain bikes have been treated for years. So let’s look at why that is the case and how the dropper post has changed mountain biking forever.

Niner Jet 9 RDO

Why is our seat so high up to begin with?

The simple answer…we don’t have a motor. We are possibly the only offroad sport that has to use our legs to get where we are going. A lot of times this equals a lot of time in the saddle climbing and pedaling to get to our favorite sections of trail. To fully optimize this setup, our legs have to be slightly bent at full extension with our knee slightly over the balls of our foot. You know all of the bike fitment rules. It gives us the most efficient pedal stroke — while seated — so we can get the most power to the ground as efficiently as we can. It allows us to ride longer and climb faster.

Much of mountain biking over the years has also been a road bike up push rather than a downhill bike down on how technology and fitment effects the ride. Beginning mountain bikes were no more than taking road geometry with fatter tires. I can still remember the rigid bike on 1.8 tires days with flat bars and steep geometry. Luckily over time…mountain bikes have really segmented into a real offroad vehicle with travel, slacker geometry and bigger tires to better accommodate trail riding. They still require the same motor though…our legs.

If we did not have that one factor that set us apart from the other offroad disciplines of 2 wheel transportation…our saddle height would default to the same position as the rest of them…low.

Why your saddle should be low and out of the way

There are fundamental reasons why your saddle should be low and out of the way of your body while you ride when you are not climbing. And guess what…it doesn’t all have to do with being able to get your weight back in steep sections which some assume is the only purpose of a dropper post.

Proper Turning on Trails

I am sure you have heard the riders that don’t like dropper posts say it is because they need the saddle to balance/turn the bike. If it is out of the way…they can’t do it correctly. Well guess what? They are doing it wrong. Proper turning on a mountain bike requires the bike to be able to move independently of your body. You need to be able to lean the bike in certain circumstances to corner correctly and smoothly. Whether it be to lean the bike over farther for more grip or get your weight back to rail a berm…you can not do this with your seat up in the optimal climbing position. Just because you are used to riding with it up…that doesn’t make it the correct way to do it.

Weighting and Unweighting the Bike While Riding

Riding smooth and fast on trails is greatly dependent upon how you ride the bike. While you are riding downhill and through flatter fast sections, you should be weighting and unweighting the bike on the trail to smoothen it out, skip small obstacles and keep momentum. To do this, you have to be able to bend your knees and get low on the bike to compress the suspension and then unweight the bike from that sequence. You can not do this correctly if you can not move your body enough to make it happen. This skill is one that I consider probably the most important in riding and it is made much easier/possible with the addition of a dropper post. BMX and motorcross use this technique a lot also.

Ideal Climbing Height Every Time

There are some riders that will just say “I can just put my seat post down for long decents and then raise it at the bottom”. The issue with doing this is that you most likely will not get your saddle to your correct height for optimal climbing. You’ll either get it a little too tall or short and that will effect your efficiency and could cause knee issues. A dropper post will go to the exact height you need with a push of a button and it will be right every time.

It Allows you to get your weight back

The fun one that is everyone’s default answer. Yes…it greatly increases your ability to get your weight back on steep trails for more controlled riding.

Better control on the trail

We do not ride road bikes. We have rocks, roots, down trees…you name it…to contend with. This means that the bike can unexpectantly try to slide out from under us or bounce without notice at speed. With your saddle out of the way, you do not run the risk of an unexpected maneuver of your bike to throw you on the trail or buck you over the handle bars because the saddle will not be giving you a nice push. You need the mountain bike to be nimble enough to overcome unexpected changes in the trail and that is not possible if your movement is restricted.

Evil Bikes the Insurgent

Common Complaints about Dropper Posts

There are probably even more reasons to come up with on why dropper posts on mountain bikes are a necessity…but now let’s look at the common complaints.

Increased Weight

This is probably the number one complaint I hear from riders that aren’t wanting to put a dropper post on. First, dropper posts have come down in weight tremendously over time. With better materials and advancements in their technology, they can be almost 1/2 the weight they used to be back in the day when our options were really limited. 9point8 actually has one now that only weighs 385 grams including the remote!

The weight is also centered on the bike which makes it less noticeable. XC racers are adopting dropper posts for their benefits so recreational riders really can’t use the complaint excuse anymore. Bike tech has come such a long way.

Reliability of Dropper Posts

I will admit…back in my magnet style Gravity Dropper days…there were some reliability issues. All of the dropper posts I have used in the past couple of years have been trouble free through hard riding. Manufacturers have really figured out how to make the posts a lot more reliable than in the past. It still is a moving part so things can happen but they don’t nearly fail as much as some would like to believe.

Increased Clutter on the Bars

I remember the days of trying to figure out exactly where to put the switch and how it would interact with the other components on the bars. It was really hard to figure out on bikes that had the old school Shimano windows on the shifters. As shifters got to be more low profile, fitment became much easier. Now that the front derailleur has finally died off…it is stupid simple. The switch just took it’s place. No more clutter issues.

I’m just as fast as my friends that have one

First…this is a pretty lame excuse that is filled with an ego trip. We aren’t pro riders where tenths of a second can be measured with a simple component change and not everything is a race. We ride with our friends and our friends have a wide range of abilities and styles. That comment alone makes you sound like an asshole.

That aside…you would be faster with one once you got used to it. Having your seat all the way up your ass the entire ride makes you compensate with inproper technique to overcome the fact that you are not as mobile on the bike as you should be.

The Single Best Advancement in Mountain Bike tech

The dropper seat post is the single best advancement in mountain bike technology. Finally…we have a way to get the seat where it needs to be for all situations outside of climbing and flat pedaling sections. We were the last of the offroad 2 wheeled riders to finally get a way to do this and it has helped the riding of a lot of riders since it has gone mainstream.

There is a reason that almost every bike released right now comes with one.

This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Robb Sutton 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #16806 Reply

    Dub
    • Total Posts 0

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. Won’t own a MTB without a dropper post ever again. I love them and they make an amazing difference in my riding for all of the reasons you state above.

  • #16807 Reply

    Michael Whitney
    • Total Posts 0

    I guess you are feeling pretty strong about this. (arrogant). Droppers aren’t for everybody. I am a left leg below knee amputee of seven years. I podiumed x-country every race for 5 years before the accident. Currently, I clip in and ride with the big boys. A dropper leaves me, the amputee, without stability through the rough and/or flow. I’m able to use a riding height saddle when standing /squatting through the curves as an anchor between my thighs – much like a bass guitar player would use his thumb while playing. Take a lesson in being so absolute in your thinking. Nothing is so black and white as you think this subject is While I agree on the advantages for our natural legged Brothers and Sisters, not EVERY bike should have a dropper post… PERIOD. By the way, I ride a 2013 Santa Cruz Solo Carbon with a RockShox Reverb. It’s only used when loading to car rack if it interferes with another loaded bike. Happy Trails!

  • #16808 Reply

    Douglas Vlad
    • Total Posts 0

    Too expensive. Not everybody can afford something that is so unreliable. I saw a dropper on eBay for around seventy bucks, and it comes in a 27.2. Which is another thing that’s there are not too many of. Everyone was saying I needed thru axles, then they tell me for years that the best upgrade would be new wheels. If any of the industry would review the lower end of equipment, maybe I could see the need. I’ve been riding for over thirty years.A lot longer than a lot of the youngsters who say I need this stuff

  • #16809 Reply

    Douglas Vlad
    • Total Posts 0

    Bring back the Hite-Rite

  • #16810 Reply

    Robb Sutton
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 672

    Too expensive. Not everybody can afford something that is so unreliable. I saw a dropper on eBay for around seventy bucks, and it comes in a 27.2. Which is another thing that’s there are not too many of. Everyone was saying I needed thru axles, then they tell me for years that the best upgrade would be new wheels. If any of the industry would review the lower end of equipment, maybe I could see the need. I’ve been riding for over thirty years.A lot longer than a lot of the youngsters who say I need this stuff

    The reliability part is really not an issue anymore. Like I said in the article, it was in the past but the technology has come so far that I haven’t had a single issue with multiple different brands in years.

    It’s interesting that you bring up thru-axles though because QR’s should have never been on a mountain bike. That is a safety thing that almost everyone in the industry and that rides agrees on. It was made out of convenience so riders could get their front wheel off easier and it is one of the most unsafe parts that has ever graced a mountain bike. It isn’t just about it being stiffer…

    I have also been riding since there was no suspension on mountain bikes. When you say the youngsters comment it makes you sound like an old man screaming “get off my lawn” while saying everything was better in the olden days. Technology advances over time. Look at the bikes in WalMart now. There are 29ers with disc brakes, thru axles and other components that are found on higher end bikes.

  • #16811 Reply

    Robb Sutton
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 672

    I guess you are feeling pretty strong about this. (arrogant). Droppers aren’t for everybody. I am a left leg below knee amputee of seven years. I podiumed x-country every race for 5 years before the accident. Currently, I clip in and ride with the big boys. A dropper leaves me, the amputee, without stability through the rough and/or flow. I’m able to use a riding height saddle when standing /squatting through the curves as an anchor between my thighs – much like a bass guitar player would use his thumb while playing. Take a lesson in being so absolute in your thinking. Nothing is so black and white as you think this subject is While I agree on the advantages for our natural legged Brothers and Sisters, not EVERY bike should have a dropper post… PERIOD. By the way, I ride a 2013 Santa Cruz Solo Carbon with a RockShox Reverb. It’s only used when loading to car rack if it interferes with another loaded bike. Happy Trails!

    I am not going to try to pretend to understand how it is to ride with your condition. It is just awesome that you are out riding IMO!! Do whatever works to keep you out there. Sounds like we agree on everything I said…just not for your current situation.

    I also use mine to load it in my truck when I want to lock it in the cab. Completely forgot about that added benefit.

  • #16918 Reply

    Geoff
    • Total Posts 0

    Couldn’t disagree more with this article, I’ve had numerous dropper posts on numerous bikes and I can’t stand the things. Recently purchased a Stumpjumper with a dropper post and thought I’d give it one more go, well it lasted about a week before I swapped it out.

    For my style of riding I just don’t see any real advantage to having one on the bike, that said, horses for courses I guess.

    What I find somewhat ironic is you hear all this talk about cleaning up the cockpit by removing the front derailleur, lo and behold, you now have room to clutter it up again, dead set funny as.

    • #16992 Reply

      Robb Sutton
      Keymaster
      • Total Posts 672

      Couldn’t disagree more with this article, I’ve had numerous dropper posts on numerous bikes and I can’t stand the things. Recently purchased a Stumpjumper with a dropper post and thought I’d give it one more go, well it lasted about a week before I swapped it out.

      For my style of riding I just don’t see any real advantage to having one on the bike, that said, horses for courses I guess.

      What I find somewhat ironic is you hear all this talk about cleaning up the cockpit by removing the front derailleur, lo and behold, you now have room to clutter it up again, dead set funny as.

      Just curious…why do you hate them so much?

Reply To: Every Mountain Bike Should Have a Dropper Post. Period.

You can use BBCodes to format your content.
Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

Your information: